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Social Networking Giant Facebook Has Multi-Year Plans to Overhaul its Systems: Mark Zuckerberg

More than two billion people use one of Facebook services every day

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In a bid to prevent foreign interference into elections, facebook has also begun labelling all political and issue ads in the us -- including a
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Wikimedia commons

Saying goodbye to one of his toughest years filled with several controversies, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said he is “proud” of the progress in 2018 and the company has now established multi-year plans to overhaul its systems and is executing those roadmaps.

In a year-end note on Friday, the 34-year-old Zuckerberg said his personal challenge has been to focus on preventing election interference, stopping the spread of hate speech and misinformation, making sure people have control of their information and ensuring his services improve people’s well-being.

This, however, does not mean Facebook will catch every bad actor or piece of bad content on its platform, he said.

“To be clear, addressing these issues is more than a one-year challenge. For some of these issues, like election interference or harmful speech, the problems can never be fully solved,” the Facebook CEO lamented.

“But we’ve now established multi-year plans to overhaul our systems and we’re well into executing those roadmaps,” added Zuckerberg who faced intense scrutiny over Cambridge Analytica data scandal in 2018.

Scandals surrounding Facebook started surfacing in such higher frequencies that industry observers began questioning if the social media giant with over two billion users would be able to survive in the long term.

Leading the charge of the attack on Internet “monopolies” was American billionaire investor George Soros, who warned that social media companies can have adverse consequences on the functioning of democracy and that the days of the US-based IT giants were numbered.

Scrutiny of Facebook increased manifold since it revealed earlier in 2018 how a London-based political consultancy firm Cambridge Analytica, that worked for US President Donald Trump’s campaign, improperly got access to data of up to 87 million users.

Facebook has multi-year plans to overhaul its systems: Zuckerberg.

Appearing before a US Congress Committee in April, Zuckerberg apologised for the Cambridge Analytica data leak scandal.

“We’re a very different company today than we were in 2016, or even a year ago. We’ve fundamentally altered our DNA to focus more on preventing harm in all our services,” the Facebook CEO stressed.

“We now have more than 30,000 people working on safety and invest billions of dollars in security yearly,” he added.

In May, he appeared before the European Parliament to respond to questions surrounding the company’s business practices, its plans on fighting misinformation on the platform and protecting user privacy among others.

“For preventing election interference, we’ve improved our systems for identifying the fake accounts and coordinated information campaigns that account for much of the interference — now removing millions of fake accounts every day,” said Zuckerberg in the year-end note.

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“For stopping the spread of harmful content, we’ve built AI systems to automatically identify and remove content related to terrorism, hate speech, and more before anyone even sees it,” he said, adding that these systems take down 99 per cent of the terrorist-related content before anyone even reports it.

More than two billion people use one of Facebook services every day.

“People have come together using these tools to raise more than $1 billion for causes and to find more than 1 million new jobs. More than 90 million small businesses use our tools, and more than half say they’ve hired more people because of them,” said Zuckerberg. (IANS)

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Facebook Apologizes Employees after Several Racist Incidents

The employees wrote that "things have gotten worse since former staffer Mark Luckie published a note in November last year, claiming Facebook had "a black people problem."

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FILE - The logo for Facebook appears on screens at the Nasdaq MarketSite, in New York's Times Square, March 29, 2018. VOA

Facebook has apologized after current and former employees went on to social media and detailed several racist incidents against black, Hispanic and female Asian employees at the social networking company.

Facebook tendered it’s apology after an after an anonymous post from 12 employees under the group name “FB Blind” on online publishing platform The Medium went viral, USA Today reported on Friday.

“We may be smiling. We may post on Instagram with industry influencers and celebrities. We may use the IG ‘Share Black Stories’ filter and be featured on marketing pieces. We may embrace each other and share how happy we are to have the opportunity to work with a company that impacts nearly three billion people.

“On the inside, we are sad. Angry. Oppressed. Depressed. And treated every day through the micro and macro aggressions as if we do not belong here,” wrote the Facebook employees.

The problem, they said is not just with black employees of different genders.

“The incidents are also reflective of behaviours against Latin and female Asian employees. The experiences invoke how we, the twelve Facebook employees present and past who are sharing our stories here anonymously, have been made to feel as employees by Facebook managers, HR business partners, and their immediate white colleagues,” the post further read.

Hundreds of African-American Facebook employees embarked to Menlo Park, California this week to be part of its annual “Black” event.

Social Media, Facebook, Authenticity, Posts
The social media application, Facebook is displayed on Apple’s App Store, July 30, 2019. VOA

“Many of us will go to the AfroTech event in Oakland to share stories, network, and meet up with other engineers, designers, and leaders in the industry,” the employees wrote.

A company spokesperson told CNBC in a statement that no one at Facebook, or anywhere, should have to put up with this behaviour.

“We are sorry. It goes against everything that we stand for as a company. We’re listening and working hard to do better,a said Bertie Thomson, Facebook’s Vice President of Corporate Communications.

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The employees wrote that “things have gotten worse since former staffer Mark Luckie published a note in November last year, claiming Facebook had “a black people problem.”

“Racism, discrimination, bias, and aggression do not come from the big moments. It’s in the small actions that mount up over time and build into a culture where we are only meant to be seen as quotas, but never heard, never acknowledged, never recognized, and never accepted.

“We are remaining anonymous because Facebook creates a hostile culture where anyone that is non-white is made to feel fear for their job and their safety to report any bad behaviours,” they added. (IANS)